Killing the Dream – In Place Apart

3 out of 5

Label: Deathwish

Produced by: Kurt Ballou

I’m pretty sure this doesn’t work without producer Kurt Ballou.  Killing the Dream play a fairly ‘typical’ Deathwish version of hardcore punk: lots of throaty screaming, punk pacing, occasional time-shift breakdowns, and lyrics that cut a couple of notches above the “people and life suck” norm.  Hitting a 1.5 – 2.5 minute mark with 12 tracks of noisy fury, KtD still move through most of their tricks within a few tracks, but it sounds damn good and violent throughout, all the frequent screamed ‘fucks’ buffered by lyrical attempts at contemplation instead of straight-out finger pointing, and Ballou able to balance in some dual vocals, chanting, and a crisp, raw sound to the chugga-chugga guitars and non-stop drumming.  The disc’s sequencing makes a good point of halting the thrashing every now and then for relative breathers of slowed down bridges, but still, this thing is completely thriving on its intensity versus delivering some new unique breed of hardcore.  And it’s very much thanks to Ballou that it makes an impression, all raw and in your face without being ear-splitting.

Without that?  I suspect In Place Apart would be pretty sludgey and, alas, forgettable.  Thankfully, that’s not Deathwish’s bag, and we get another blazing release of anthems.  Killing the Dream are certainly surpassed in originality by many of their peers, but making a lot of noise while they’re here.